Khun Htun Oo, the chairperson for Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), abruptly resigned this Sunday (September 27). SHAN editor Sai Mueng spoke with Sai Lek, general secretary of the SNLD, about the reasons the long standing chairperson left and what this might mean for the party with the election quickly approaching.
Why did Khun Htun Oo resign from SNLD?
The main reason for his resignation is his health. The other thing is his family. Khun Htun, concerned that he would not have enough time to give to the party, asked to resign twice. Regarding this, he sent an email to the Union Election Commission (UEC) in June. The UEC asked SNLD’s central executive committee about the matter and we agreed Khun Htun Oo would continue as party chair until the 2020 general election was over. Yesterday, he told 7Day News that he resigned from the party. I think there might be some personal reasons related to his family. Just to be clear, there is no conflict between the party and our chairperson.
Khun Htun Oo is a prominent and senior politician. With the election fast approaching, will his abrupt resignation impact the SNLD’s success during polling?
Many supporters and members of the party are upset. But he resigned because of his health. And, secondly, it was because of a family issue. He thought some of the (younger) party’s members were ready to work for SNLD and he wanted to share this opportunity with the new generation. Even though we all feel bad about his departure, politically it won’t affect our party. He will always be with us, even though he resigned, and that’s our perception of the situation.
Is there someone from the SNLD ready to replace Khun Htun Oo?
I can’t say we’re ready to replace him with another chairperson. From a political standpoint, if one goes then another will fill his/her position. This is a given. And we’ve prepared for that. What I want to say is that even though Khun Htun Oo resigned as chairperson, he’ll always be with us. Everyone can fulfill their duties; our party will move forward.
What action will be taken by the SNLD CEC (central executive committee)?
At the moment, CEC members cannot all meet in person (because of social distancing regulations). Although Khun Htun announced his resignation, CEC is required to meet to decide whether to accept his resignation. Therefore, it will be decided after the election. He will continue as the chairperson until this point.
Would you like to say anything to the members of your party and supporters?
SNLD has a solid background. All of our policies are very concrete. While our leadership is changing, we will achieve our goal. There’s no reason to worry; we need to move forward. There is no conflict between our party and Khun Htun Oo. If his health gets better and his family issue is resolved, we will work together again. Whatever we face in the future, we have to keep going. Let’s all work together until we reach our goal.